WASHINGTON — Flu activity has slowly picked up in the region. It has now become widespread in Maryland, according to weekly flu monitoring data.
In a Maryland flu monitoring report, more than 230 lab tests came back positive for the flu so far this season. Health providers reported more than 8,000 visits to clinics and emergency rooms with influenza like illness (ILI) complaints. Most of the patients range in age from infant to 24-years-old. Influenza-Like Illness is defined as a fever of 100 degrees or higher with a cough or sore throat and no other diagnosis.
The report also confirms one flu related death in Maryland this flu season.
In D.C., the flu has been sporadic -- meaning there have been isolated cases and activity has not increased. So far this year, 24 flu cases have been reported in D.C.
In Virginia, flu activity has also been reported as sporadic. There have been 29 cases so far.
West Virginia is reporting that flu activity in the state is local. The state defines local activity as an outbreak or increased flu activity in a single region of the state.
Across the nation, only Louisiana and Maryland are showing widespread flu activity. Local outbreaks have been reported in 15 states including West Virginia, Florida, Texas, California and Massachusetts. While activity is higher than previous weeks, the Centers for Disease Control said activity is still overall low.
Experts at Harvard believe the U.S. may experience an active and possibly severe flu season during 2019 and 2020.
John Ross, a contributing editor at Harvard Health Publishing, noted that the projection was based on data from Australia, where a record number of cases was reported. The flu was confirmed in more than 300,000 patients in Australia.
Flu outbreaks in the Southern Hemisphere can often give a clue as to how the flu may perform when it arrives in the U.S.
Flu data is updated weekly during the flu season. Here are some resources for the CDC and regional flu monitoring pages in your area.